AMA about Messenger Marketing for Authors

Kerry Gardiner
Dec 4, 2017

Messenger marketing is huge right now - and authors need to get on-board. With over 1 billion users on Facebook Messenger daily, and more and more people getting sick and tired of their inbox being flooded with emails, it's time to make this new and exciting platform work for us. As the owner of a Messenger based book promotion site and a contributor to the Indie Author Fringe, I have seen the potential of this largely untapped tool. Don't get left behind.

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Do you host free webinars?

Dec 8, 8:48PM EST0

How can authors promote their books using a messenger?

Dec 7, 11:02AM EST0

Why do you think the messenger is a good marketing platform? What about the response of people to spam?

Dec 4, 6:10PM EST0

Can I promote my books using some advertising banners on various sites? How effective is this?

Dec 4, 8:02AM EST0

Hi Nikita, yes, of course. The effectiveness will be determined by the popularity of the site and its relevance to your ad. However, from personal experience, I have never found these kinds of ads effective. Your money would be better invested by advertising on Facebook on on Amazon using AMS ads (if you're publishing on Amazon)

Last edited @ Dec 4, 8:07AM EST.
Dec 4, 8:06AM EST0

Does the target audience of my product influence the choice of marketing strategy? If so - how?

Dec 4, 5:15AM EST0

Hi Ivy. Absolutely! For example, if you are writing children's books how do you reach them? You can't target children, so you have to target their parents. The vast majority of which will be on Facebook, not Instagram, so you would target there and use Facebook's filtering options to make sure you hit the right demographic. If, however, you're targeting teens, who likely buy for themselves, then they will spend more time on Instagram or Snapchat so you would need to target there. You need to draw up a profile of your ideal end-user, and target the places where you are likely to reach them. Without having such a profile, you are throwing money away. 

Dec 4, 6:36AM EST0

What is your book about? What prompted you to write it?

Dec 4, 12:40AM EST0

I write crime fiction so I write mostly about killers :-) I started writing because I needed to make money honestly. I won't lie and say I had a burning urge to write, I didn't. I enjoy it, but the ultimate aim was always to make a living at it. I'm pleased that I can do that.

Dec 4, 4:00AM EST0

What marketing strategies are most popular now?

Dec 3, 11:47PM EST0

Messenger marketing is growing in popularity but in terms of book sales? The permafree model still works really well though it is getting harder.

Dec 4, 3:59AM EST0

How does digital marketing help to cope with a competition?

Dec 3, 10:09PM EST0

I'm not sure I understand the question? What kind of competition?

Dec 4, 3:58AM EST0

What project are you currently working on? What was your most successful project?

Dec 3, 6:51PM EST0

Hi. I'm working on several actually! I have a course training authors on how to use Messenger marketing over at www.messengermarketingforauthors.com. I also run my book promotion site and I'm working on a cozy mystery and a stand-alone psychological thriller. Phew! No wonder I never have time to sleep! :-) My books are my most successful project as I have hit the #1 paid bestseller spot on Nook and make a decent income.

Dec 4, 3:58AM EST0

Are there any rules for marketing in the messenger? Which of them should be strictly observed?

Dec 3, 4:02PM EST0

Hi. Yes, absolutely, and they should all be strictly observed! The three that I would say are the most important are:

Don't contact anyone unless they have explicitly contacted you first (it's spamming and you'll get your account banned)

Don't try underhand tactics to get folks signed up to your bot. This is still new tech and people don't understand what they're signing up for. Be clear with them that they are signing up to hear from you (that's a rule) and make it easy for them to unsubscribe. I'd rather have 500 subs who want to be there than 5000 who have no idea why they are!

There is a 24hr window after which you are not allowed to send promotional material. (You are allowed one follow up message after that time).  What this means, for example is this: Day 1 - someone signs up for your bot. For the next 24hrs you can send them promotional materials but you have nothing to send. Two weeks later, you're ready to send them something. You send them the follow-up message saying 'hey, I have this great thing to tell you about, are you interested?'. When they click the button to say they are, you are then able to send them a promotional message.

I hope that helps!

Dec 4, 3:55AM EST0

What do you think about standard methods of promoting a writer directly in book stores?

Dec 3, 2:07PM EST0

I'm not sure if you're talking about trad or indie, so I'll base my answer on the latter. I see quite a few indies desperately trying to get into bookstores - almost as if that is validation of some kind. IMHO, it's a waste of time unless you're lucky enough to get into one of the big chains and, if you're an indie, it's pretty much impossible. The tide is turning, but we're not quite there yet. Spending a lot of time trying to get into local bookstores simply doesn't make financial sense, even if rewarding. They get limited traffic and you've given up a lot of your time to get there. You may do a book signing or two but, realistically, is that going to lead to thousands of sales on your back catalogue? No.  Your efforts should be focused on going where the audience is. And that's Amazon, iBooks, Nook and Kobo. I guess what I'm saying is that it depends on your end goal. If you want to be able to say you're in a bookstore and do a couple of book signings, then you need to follow your heart. If you want to make money - go where the customers are.

Dec 4, 3:47AM EST0

What is a search engine optimization? Is search engine optimization suitable for writers to promote their books?

Dec 3, 2:06PM EST0

SEO is what you use to try and drive organic traffic to your product/website. It has little, if any, impact on book sales. Put it like this: Amazon is the biggest marketing platform on the planet. The only thing you should worry about is how to make your book stand out on Amazon, let them do the rest. Choose your keywords carefully, put your book in the correct categories, have a fantastic cover and, it goes without saying, a great book. Those are the things that will sell books. 

Dec 4, 3:39AM EST0

What do you think about promoting books and any other products on Twitter and Instagram?

Dec 3, 12:31PM EST0

Twitter is dead in terms of promoting anything you want to sell. It was never good but now they have taken away Twitter cards as well, there is very little point having a presence there. Instagram can work, but it really does depend on the product and the audience. Crime thrillers aimed at the 35 years+ demographic will not sell on Insta - but a YA or PNR with a stunning cover, might. As to other products I can't really comment as I don't have any experience of it.

Dec 4, 3:34AM EST0

Is the messenger suitable for promoting other groups of products / services?

Dec 3, 12:31PM EST0

Absolutely. Because of the nature of the platform, and the fact that you can take payments within Messenger, it's a great place to promote products and services. Done the right way, the potential is huge. Again, it's about building relationships and trust before the sell.

Dec 4, 3:31AM EST0

My book will be released in 2 weeks. Can I use social media to attract the attention of potential readers?

Dec 3, 11:12AM EST0

Hi Amanda. If this is your first book it is undeniably harder. But yes, you can. Focus your attention on the channels that work and suit your genre though. Personally, Twitter and Instagram are non-starters when it comes to book marketing. Facebook is the one to focus on. YMMV though if, for example, your book is YA. Your audience will hang out on Instagram more than Facebook so you might get better results there.  Ultimately you need to find out where your audience hangs out. One bit of advice, most Facebook groups are a waste of time and you will spend hours dropping links with zero return. Also, don't promote your books in groups that are mostly filled with authors doing the same thing. Readers don't hang out there and authors want to sell their books, not buy yours :-) Start looking into running Facebook or Amazon ads. You can start on a really low budget and test. That's my best advice.

Dec 4, 3:30AM EST0

How long have you been marketing? What is your main rule of the work?

Dec 3, 10:58AM EST0

I've been marketing as long as I've been writing so four years now. You can't do one without the other - well, if you want to make any money that is! My main rule is focus. Too many people take a scatter-gun approach. A bit of this, a bit of that - rather than learning to do one thing properly. Take Facebook advertising for example. It's a skill. It takes a lot of testing, trial and error, before you start to see a positive ROI. A lot of people just throw money at Facebook and hope. Learn one skill and don't move on to the next until you've mastered it.

Dec 4, 3:24AM EST0

How can I promote my book using a messenger? How to make the message text interesting and unobtrusive?

Dec 3, 10:16AM EST0

Hi Elena! Readers want to connect with you as a person. Be honest, open and friendly. Tell them what you're working on, maybe let them have an excerpt and ask them for feedback, engage with them!

Dec 4, 8:01AM EST0

As a writer, in which genres do you write? Who is your favorite author?

Dec 3, 10:16AM EST0

Hi Heenal. I write crime fiction. I have two or three favorite authors so it would be difficult to pick one! My top three are David Baldacci, Karin Slaughter and Karen Rose.

Dec 4, 3:21AM EST0

What is the important thing in Messenger marketing in your opinion?

Dec 2, 11:47PM EST0

Respect. That's the single most important thing. You want to build relationships with them so that they will be customers for life. To do that you have to show them the respect not to spam them, not to constantly be going 'buy, buy, buy'. Be interesting, useful, make them look forward to hearing from you. 

Dec 4, 3:20AM EST0

Has this been prooved to work in real market?

Dec 1, 1:02PM EST0

Hi George. Absolutely! I have many authors in my dedicated Facebook group who are seeing great results. When you send a message in Messenger open rates are over 85% and CTRs ten times what you see with email campaigns. It's not hard to see how that can impact your business! Not to mention better reader engagement, more reviews ... and much more.

Dec 4, 3:17AM EST0

How did you come up with this?

Nov 30, 9:02AM EST0

Hi Nikita. I can't take credit for coming up with Messenger marketing - unfortunately! However, there is an assumption amongst authors that it is somehow spammy, or just the remit of internet marketers. That's not the case and you just need to be able to think outside the box to find ways of applying it to your author business.

Dec 4, 3:15AM EST0
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